ISEA2015’s theme of DISRUPTION invites a conversation about the aesthetics of change, renewal, and game-changing paradigms. We look to raw bursts of energy, reconciliation, error, and the destructive and creative forces of the new. Disruption contains both blue sky and black smoke. When we speak of radical emergence we must also address things left behind. Disruption is both incremental and monumental.

In practices ranging from hacking and detournement to inversions of place, time, and intention, creative work across disciplines constantly finds ways to rethink or reconsider form, function, context, body, network, and culture. Artists push, shape, break; designers reinvent and overturn; scientists challenge, disprove and re-state; technologists hack and subvert to rebuild.

Disruption and rupture are fundamental to digital aesthetics. Instantiations of the digital realm continue to proliferate in contemporary culture, allowing us to observe ever-broader consequences of these effects and the aesthetic, functional, social and political possibilities that arise from them.

Within this theme, we want to investigate trends in digital and internet aesthetics and revive exchange across disciplines. We hope to broaden the spheres in which disruptive aesthetics can be explored, crossing into the worlds of science, technology, design, visual art, contemporary and media art, innovation, performance, and sound.

To elaborate on this general theme we have established the following sub-themes:



Increasingly, culture operates based on a sophisticated, invisible layer of data that may or may not relate to the physical world, and which leaves a “worldly residue” behind as machines alter our lived experience. This residue contributes to a wide variety of real world impacts. In addition there is a growing appreciation in the mainstream for the partial, procedural aesthetics produced by internet culture, from animated .gifs, RGB palettes, filters, to cats, unicorns, hair smiles and ugly selfies. What are the current effects of how the physical and the digital are entwined and what are the implications for the future? What does this blending of spheres mean for politics, aesthetics and the social world?



From strictly autonomous systems that generate complete work to tools for computer assisted creativity, artists and designers have been exploring generative frameworks for decades. In our increasingly computerized world, fronting a tsunami of data, we see an ever-increasing role for generative systems that operationalize autonomous behaviours that are algorithmically determined. We invite work that reflects on human and machine autonomy, aesthetics, and roles. How can we build on ideas of disruption in the framework of generative systems, processes, art?



By definition a glitch is small: a transient, short-lived fault that creates disturbance in a system. And yet the effects of a glitch can be monumental: on an aesthetic level a glitch can completely elide the readability of an image; in an airplane a glitch can cause total systems failure leading to catastrophe. One can find glitches in anything: in complex processes, in our images, bodies and lived experiences. A glitch is unstable, something slippery that is hard to find and harder to fix. Glitch is a ping from the system that makes itself visible. While glitch has a history it continues to appear in the contemporary practices of many artists. How can we explore glitch in the frame of cataclysmic, raw disruption? What is the scale of glitch now?



Our own bodies form lenses of experience, perception, cognition and disruption. How can we exploit the body itself in renegotiating physical habit, cultural experience and embodied texts in the context of embodied innovation, and disruptive technology through the lens of embodiment? What are the key drivers of innovation as it is situated within and upon the body and what are the consequences – social, political, biological, creative, performative, in cyborgs and in fashion? How can we see movement as a driver of knowledge and innovation? What is physical movement now?



We are in the midst of a revolution driven by DIY culture and participatory cultures of making. These cultures are knit together by networked technology and driven by increasingly available and ever-smaller and more powerful components in the internet of things. Hacking as in: DIY, physical computing, drones, robots, sensor networks, body-hacking, biofeedback, responsive systems, hacking as a determinant in political and aesthetic strategies, the critical making movement, 3D printing and rapid prototyping all have a place in this framework. While applied, these technological processes fluctuate in a speculative and creative space.



Text reveals language in code, poetics and discourse. How can text, code, and practices in electronic literature be explored in the frame of disruptive change? How do defamiliarization and rupture cross from literature into other spheres? Using text and code, how can we investigate contemporary aesthetics at this moment within bookforms, narrative, electronic, or generative literature? What are the possibilities of creation and destruction using the medium of code and the function of the literary in today’s culture?



Science informs art as art problematizes science. How have disruptive models from other fields created effects for science in areas like citizen science, biology, social culture, fashion, mutation, performance and ecology? How do scientific discourses and metaphors integrate and interfere with other disciplines such as architecture, politics and urbanism?



Our social spaces are the backdrops of everyday experience in contemporary design, urban architectures and cityscapes. We are knit together within the complex framework of our cities, through technological and social networks, patterns of habit and use and by our interactions with objects and people both near to us and half a globe away. Our lives are more entwined than ever, but the networks that hold us together can become fragile. When networks govern both global trade and our relationships with our thermostats, where is the tension between innovation and disruption?


Submissions may take the Symposium sub-themes into consideration or may think beyond them under the overarching theme of DISRUPTION.